Penn State Students Told To Take Down ‘Constitution Day’ Table In Free Speech Zone

Penn State is a place mostly known for it’s football. JoePa was a popular nickname for the most famous college football coach Joe Paterno. Even if you did not like football, the main campus has an entire community of shops, restaurants, a creamery, and other businesses within.

This was all until November, 2011, when the world found out about Penn State’s dirty secret. The Jerry Sandusky scandal rocked Penn state with the discovery of an ever-expanding child sex abuse scandal. Last year, The Inquisitr reported on the scandal.

“Sandusky was convicted last year of 45 counts of sexual abuse stemming from his time at Penn State. He never took the stand during his trial, but he publicly insisted both before and after the trial that he is innocent of all charges.”

Penn state hit another snag, and while it has not risen to the level of scandal, it certainly seems to be a big setback to the healing process and reformation of the tainted university. This past Wednesday was Constitution Day, and a group called Young Americans For Freedom had set up a table for the event.

At this table, in one of Penn State University’s “free speech zones,” the group handed out pocket constitutions. It seemed like a typical day, until they were confronted by school officials about their table. The result, as Breitbart News reported, was the demand that the table be taken down.

“After an hour or so of tabling, the YAF table was approached by campus security personnel, who told Jolie to take the table down. Jolie pressed the official with questions, asking why she had to take down her table.”

According to the report, the campus security told them they could “pass out flyers,” but could not “have a table.” The Penn State student group captured the majority of the dispute on video.

They were told it would “not help their cause to put this on video.” The irony of the Penn State officials’ comment was that the table had a banner reading “Free Speech Banned At Penn State,” with literature about their “speech code.”

According to Pennsylvania Independent, Penn State senior director of students and activities Judy Albin told the student group that it was violating the “pre-approve structure” policy by using an unapproved table.

(Writer’s note: A review by this writer of the Penn State University policy manual made no mention of the words “structure,” “pre-approve,” “table,” and other variations. Any other documentation was not viewable by anyone without a student login.)

Jolie Stuart-Davis, who was one of the members of Young Americans For Freedom, thought she was joking when the group was approached about the table. When Mrs. Stuart-Davis challenged Ms. Albin’s request, she was told that the student’s “rights were not violated at all.” Ms. Albin went as far in the confrontation as to threaten that she could be forced to “call campus police, but why do that.”

Mrs. Stuart-Davis was given the opportunity to review the Penn State policy that was invoked, but upon her entrance to do so, Ms. Albin was nowhere to be found. Pennsylvania Independent reports that Stuart-Davis questioned the point of the “free speech zones.”

“If you have to reserve free speech, it’s not really free.”

What are your thoughts on “free speech zones,” and was Penn state’s actions appropriate?

[Images Via Wikimedia Commons]